Giorgio Armani single-handedly built a billion-dollar brand his own way, but where does his empire go from here?
It was Giorgio Armani’s obsession with health that led to his brush with death. For 10 days in May 2009, Armani, one of the most influential fashion designers and entrepreneurs of our time, lay in a hospital bed with what he describes as “a very serious” case of hepatitis. The cause of his illness wasn’t the stress that comes from juggling a global empire of clothes, accessories, furniture, cosmetics and real estate. It was the supplements. Then 75 years old, he was drinking them every morning in a small glass as he hit the gym. “My doctor told me: Get rid of all this shit you’re drinking,” Armani recalls.
Armani won’t say exactly what he was taking, only that the substance poisoned his liver. Why he was taking it, however, is clear: The house Armani has built is a reflection of himself—the trim, toned, tanned and T-shirted figure that is synonymous with the brand—and he wants to secure a long life for both.